Ecosystems Unit Overview

The Driving Question

The Ecosystems Unit starts by asking students to express their ideas about the driving question about an anchoring phenomenon, “How many foxes can live in a meadow?”

Carbon is the key! In the unit, students learn to tell the story of how matter and energy are transformed as they move through ecosystems. A particularly powerful strategy for explaining how ecosystems transform matter and energy involves tracing carbon atoms. For more information about the Next Generation Science Standards disciplinary core ideas included in this unit see the sections on the Large Scale Four Questions below and the Unit Goals.

Research base. This unit is based on learning progression research that describes the resources that students bring to learning about plants and the barriers to understanding that they must overcome. It is organized around an instructional model that engages students in three-dimensional practices.